Parent reviews for The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Common Sense says

Disney's take on Christmas classic is colorful but intense.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 34 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 12 reviews
Adult Written bySIBC04 October 31, 2018

Disney's take on the classic Nutcracker story

This was a very cute movie with a relatively simple storyline. It's Disney's take on the classic Nutcracker story - it's very fantasized and CGI-based - think along the lines of the recent Alice in Wonderland films or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. While it is visually appealing, the film did tend to drag a bit with slow points and I could see kids, especially on the younger side, getting bored at times (I even got bored at times). I think this movie would be great for kids who appreciate the original Nutcracker ballet (if there are any?) or who very much like Christmas movies. Content-wise, I believe the film is all-in-all suitable for young audiences. Aside from a few creepy elements - such as the giant wind-up mice, bouncing clown-things, and an army of huge toy soldiers - there is a "war" taking place, so we see an army of soldiers fighting with swords but no blood is shown. Clara is dealing with the passing of her mother and that is a central theme of the story. Mackenzie Foy is perfect as the heroine in the role of Clara. It does have a positive message and theme and could be seen as inspirational, especially to young girls.

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Parent of a 13 and 15 year old Written byNicole . November 1, 2018

No more Halloween. Yay! It's Christmas time!!! You too, Thanksgiving. This is a great movie to start the holidays. :D

This is a wonderful film for anyone, but especially nice for families and for the holidays. There is one caveat - there is some mild peril and some scenes may startle little children. Some parts are slow like Christopher Robin or even "Goodbye" Christopher Robin and some parts are like Narnia. It is a beautiful mess, so just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. My husband did not want to see this movie. Afterwards, he apologized and said he thought it was just going to be The Nutcracker ballet on the big screen, not to mention the poor reviews. He loved the movie and was still talking about it after we got home. My teenage daughter and son both loved the movie. I loved the modern twist on this classic tale. The costumes and setting were all beautiful and magical. I wish there was more ballet, I could watch Misty Copeland dance all day. Keira Knightly was amazing as the Sugar Plum Fairy. Mackenzie Foy was perfect as Young Clara. Really, all of the actors and dancers were good. This film is a real treat for ballerinas to be, as well. It was also nice to see fathers taking their daughters to see the film. I was surprised to see so many people on a cold, dark night with freezing rain, it was worth it for us though. Finally, I love seeing the film in 3D and D-Box but none of that is necessary. It's a wonderful film on its own.

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Violence & scariness
Adult Written byET3D November 3, 2018

Good looking but horribly scripted movie has some weird messages

I went to this movie with my 10 year old daughter, who felt it was a bad movie, and "too short" (I assume she meant "underdeveloped", which I felt was the case). To me the movie grated from almost the first instant. The dialogue felt off and acting felt deliberately silly at times. A good cast, a good director and good special effects didn't make up for a frankly stupid script. I'm not sure what age it's suitable for. Older kids (like my 10 year old) would see this for the shallow work it is, and younger kids might get frightened by the darker images in this movie, like the swarm of mice, the frightening clowns or the chipped face (I have an 8 year old niece who is frightened by unusual faces). Here's one thing I learned from the movie (spoiler alert): If you're a good person and want to tell something important to another person, having mice kidnap that person, then having your frightening clowns physically assault her to push her into your room is not the best way to make a convincing point. That the movie implies that the kidnapped person should have listened tells the young viewer that if you get kidnapped and assaulted perhaps that person is good and has a valid point. That's just one of the confusing messages in this movie.
Parent Written bySheryn A. November 3, 2018

From the moment the movie started till the closing credits, her face was lit up with wonder and magic!

My 5-year old daughter and I watched it early here in the Philippines on Halloween day in 4D. From the moment the movie started till the closing credits, her face was lit up with wonder and magic. I’m sorry if the world’s “top critics” don’t share this view. Perhaps they aren’t the target audience.

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Parent Written byKelly H. November 3, 2018

Entertaining & Not too Scary

I took my 8 year old son to see this movie, and he loved it! We are parents who try to keep to the G-rated movies whenever possible but we tried this one out. The trailer is scarier than the actual movie, but there is a scary rat monster and a few other scary bits but it was much more tame than I actually expected.. There is also a theme about losing a parent, which is a bit sad. But, it is an overall positive message of love and family, with many exciting scenes which kept the kids in the audience on their toes. It was a fun movie.
Adult Written byNorthofchicago November 11, 2018

Wonderful!! And passed the Sensitive Kid test

Other reviews on here really made me question taking my girls to see this movie, but I decided to anyway, and now I almost feel as though the bad reviews were of an entirely different movie. My girls are 6 and 9 and extremely sensitive - as in, there is not a single G-rated movie we’ve seen in the theaters that hasn’t terrified them or made them bawl. But THIS movie was a HIT!! They loved it, as did I. We all three are dancers and had NO problem with this tale being different from the traditional ballet of The Nutcracker, because it was fascinating to hear the tale in a totally different, even more fantastical way! And there was plenty of dancing to suit us, because we're watching a movie, for goodness sake, not a ballet. And I saw no parts of the plot that were undeveloped, as others have mentioned - in fact, it was such a relief to watch a movie that didn’t spell every background detail out but, instead, assumes its viewers are intelligent and creative enough to piece it a together on their own. I saw no negative messages being portrayed (one reviewer said that Clara is forced in captivity to act against her wishes?!! No, no, no! She discovers what’s within in that moment!!). I am normally very picky about movies and surprised myself by loving this one!! We most definitely will keep this one as a family favorite for many years to come!

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Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byThompthomp November 4, 2018

A Dull Story with Little Depth, a Bastardization of the True Story

Overall, it was a dissapointing spin on the classic. The only true carryover to honor the original story is the use of the musical score. Very little of the movie made me feel emotion or support for the characters. The strained relationship between Clara’s family was more thought-catching then the fantastical world that Clara’s mother created (though how she found it or created it was never explained), which I don’t think was supposed to happen. There was simply too much in too short a time-frame to do this unique plot ANY justice, nor the original that birthed it. The ballet scene felt forced and an afterthought, again no true connection to the original. Also, very bummed that there wasn’t any nutcrackers in it except for two extremely brief cameos (Fritz showing his present off and a memory of an ornament for a Christmas tree). The supporting actor claims to be a nutcracker but we were never given the opportunity to see that. Clara sees him the very first time as human as she is and somehow knows him to be a nutcracker. This movie makes me miss my copy of the Macaulay Culkin version. I’ve already bought a ticket to the actual ballet so I can remind myself why I love The Nutcracker.
Parent of a 10 year old Written byKaitis1Mom November 2, 2018

Princess Clara

Great family movie: no sex, no inappropriate language, fictional violence (sword fighting). Kind of has a Narnia and a Wizard of Oz feel to it. I took my almost 10 year old, and we both really enjoyed the movie.

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Adult Written byFantasian November 3, 2018

A new classic Christmas movie for the family

Though it hasn’t won critical acclaim for what it’s done by any means, this new Christmas story takes a classic tale and puts a large twist on it, the same way disney movies always have. The storytelling is great and the casting was outstanding. This is one i’d Like to watch every Christmas.

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Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byVOmom November 4, 2018

It’s not the traditional Nutcracker but it is Entertaining and appropriate for young kids

After reading reviews I was hesitant to take my 5 year old and her older siblings. I was worried it was going to be a terrible waste of money and my 5 yr old would be scared. (Reality check- the Nutcracker is kinda creepy to start with and there is violence...). This movie is a Narnia- Tim Burton version that has been turned down - making it perfect for younger children. Again, it’s NOT the traditional nutcracker but is very enjoyable and still has plenty of the original elements of the Nutcracker.

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Adult Written bySwiftie06 November 5, 2018

It entertained the kiddo

I enjoyed it. Yeah, it had some plot issues, but overall I found the 3rd act super fun. I liked all the characters. If you do not like clowns, then there is a scene with some that you can take a bathroom break. Overall, the visuals were stunning. My kiddo, he loved it. He was clapping and cheering. He never once got bored. He loves the Nutcracker and the nutcracker army. Plus, he loves the mice. It was a good family flick.
Adult Written byLorifour November 4, 2018

Not for younger kids

Glad we didn’t take our the girls see it. We liked it but we thought it was way too dark for them. Our 6 year old would have been scared for sure. She’s a Polichinelle in a ballet production but those things in the movies were disturbing. We thought the movie was pretty dark. It had Nutcracker characters but the story is totally different.
Parent of a 13 and 15 year old Written byKitsmom November 10, 2018

Like a Narnia movie, with a Christmas theme- don’t miss the ballet at the very end!

Was thrilled when my 13-year-old dtr saw the trailer and was willing to check this out. She and her friend (who are both trying to be as cool as possible and grow up ASAP) both enjoyed it very much. Yay!! Determined, intelligent girl discovers another realm very similar to Narnia- beautiful cinematography, gorgeous gowns, lovely music. Honestly, most boys will find it dreadful. Preschoolers may be a bit overwhelmed. The grade schoolers next to me seemed to love it. STAY FOR THE MODERN NUTCRACKER BALLET DURING THE ENDING CREDITS! One of the best parts and easy to miss.

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Adult Written bygruvergirl November 10, 2018

I loved this movie!

Any movie that makes you think, and can make you do so without adding vulgarities, is a great movie in my book. As a piano teacher, I loved how they incorporated music, art, and science into this film! Nice storyline/acting/special effects, and again, the MUSIC. The plot is not spoon fed to the audience, which is another reason I loved it. To those who thought it was a simple storyline, most likely missed some of the deeper messages. I recommend this movie to people of all ages.

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Positive role models
Adult Written bylmtrav November 5, 2018

Plot is underdeveloped, but messages, good characters, and a wonderful dance sequence save

I know this movie is getting lots of bad reviews, and in fairness, I can see the issues. It feel rushed, the "Realms" are not given enough backstory, and the story is not flushed out enough. However, I loved this movie because of the messages and characters. Mackenzie Foy as Clara truly is the light of this movie. She is strong, brave, and highly intelligent (she loves to invent like her late mother). But, she is also mourning her mother which leads her sometimes to lash out at others from her sadness, particularly her father. She learns lessons about herself and lessons about the value of love and family. Clara is a wonderful role model for little girls because she is strong but still flawed, she feels like a real girl who people can relate too. I also love Jayden Fowara-Knight as the Nutcracker! He was loyal, brave, and kind to Clara even when she sometimes took her anger out on him in tense situations. The story of this film is very different from the original Nutcracker story of the ballet, but I think fans of the ballet will appreciate it! One of the best parts of the film is the sequence featuring Misty Copeland, the renowned ballet dancer. This movie also features an incredibly diverse cast which I think is another one of its strong suits. This is not the best movie I have ever seen by any means, but I think it is one worth seeing, especially for families with young girls and fans of the ballet!

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Adult Written by[email protected] November 4, 2018

Bizarre, walked out of the theatre.

The first 15 minutes of the movie were okay but sad, another Disney dead Mother. Extremely disappointing as you might think it is at least something close to The Nutcracker. Story line was atrocious and just bizarre at times. I was actually bored. Ok costumes, but bad acting, some scenes were disturbing and not appropriate for young children. The Nutcracker character had only a few speaking scenes and did not seem important to the story at all, Clara,s character was an unlikable brat. Huge waste of money. Thanks Disney.
Parent of a 4 year old Written byCSiciliano28 November 10, 2018

A little dark, but a beautiful family film

I brought my almost 3 yo and 4.5yo to see this movie since I've read them the story and took my oldest to see the live ballet last year. It was a bit slow to start and more complex/mature than the original story plot,but I was surprised at how well they paid attention and followed along. (I did have to explain parts of it to them but they seemed to understand the general storyline--and even recognized the plot twist). It was a bit dark and scary at times, but not as much as similar remakes like Alice in Wonderland, and those creepy parts were fairly brief and overshadowed by the bright, beautiful imagery and positive messages throughout. I personally loved the overall theme (your strength comes from within) and the unique and unexpected spin they put on the classic tale. I'd say due to the slow moving development and few creepy scenes, this film could be enjoyed by more mature (or ballet/princess-loving) kids ages 5 or 6 and up. (Probably older if you're more conservative).

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Parent of a 8 year old Written byAmanda R. November 5, 2018

Great lessons to learn

This was the perfect movie to bring my daughter to because it was relevant to her own life right now. The characters we’re great. An overall theme of working together was carried throughout.

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Adult Written byjhmoore40 November 3, 2018

Charming

My 11 and 8 year old girls and I loved it. It was charming and a great family night out movie choice.

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Adult Written byMTHolmes November 18, 2018

REFRESHING

We went in a group of 5 females starting at age 71, then 68, then 45 and then two 11 year olds. We ALL enjoyed and loved it. It was thrilling. Had a sense of wonder and awh. Good vs evil. The bonds of friendship. The loss of loved ones and remembering those still with us. The magic within us all. The girls just loved it. We watched till the very, very end. The ballet was great. I will be buying this one.

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